This Video of Haras du Pin Will Give You the Creeps

Standing in the stable courtyard of Haras du Pin this morning, a wave of déjà vu washed over me. I had a chilly feeling about it, like I’d seen this place before — but where? A dream? A nightmare? A Tim Burton movie? Then it came to me: It was the backdrop of a strange sequence from the French avant garde film “Mazeppa,” which won Technical Grand Prize at Cannes in 1993 and was created by the equestrian performance artist Bartabas. This particular sequence features a horse and rider cantering across the courtyard in extreme collection, supposedly taking an hour from start to finish, then retracing their steps — backward.

OK, the sequence is obviously edited but the darky, shadowy weirdness of this place is real. Seriously, look at these photos of the stable and tell me it isn’t haunted:

Totally haunted. And why wouldn’t it be? Super-old places usually have a ghost or two. The Haras du Pin, the French National Stud, was founded in 1715 by decree of King Louis XIV….

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

…who happened to be a big fan of dressage. He enjoyed commissioning allegorical horse performances in his courtyard and showing up to them dressed as the sun, literally, in apparent promotion of his image as the center of the French universe. The Haras du Pin became known as “The Palace of Versailles for horses” and has since played an integral role in France’s breeding program. (You can read more about Haras du Pin’s history on its website here.)

Anyway, we’ll be camping out here for the next few days and if we spot any spectral apparitions, you’ll be the first to know. Go Eventing!


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